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Strategy evaluation

Measuring success for your nonprofit or activist movement
3 min read
Last update: Dec 3, 2023

What will success look like and how will you know when itโ€™s happening? Be sure not to emphasise the outputs that are easiest to count. Focus instead on the outcomes that really matter to your objectives.

Success indicators need to be directly linked to your objectives and might include:

  • Outputs: What quantitative results will be brought about by your activities. What will be the results?

  • Outcomes: What changes will be brought about?

  • Impact: What will be longer-term results or changes?

  • Indicators: How will you know you have achieved your objectives? What are the changes that you will be able to observe?

  • Means of verification: How can you prove these changes have occurred?

  • Details of how and when the campaign plan will be revised.

  • Identify who will be responsible for gathering the data for monitoring success indicators, how they will do it and how regularly reports will be completed.

Signs of failing strategy

Despite your best intentions and genuine passion for change, your movement may be lacking a well-defined strategy if you notice the following symptoms:

  • Lack of stakeholder engagement: If you're not actively engaging with all relevant stakeholders - your allies, opponents, and targets - your strategy might not be sufficiently inclusive.

  • Inability to adapt: If your strategy isn't flexible enough to adapt and adjust to changing circumstances or feedback, it may not be sufficiently robust or effective.

  • Poor resource utilization: If your movement is continually strapped for resources - time, money, or people - without seeing impactful results, this could be a sign your strategy isn't effective or efficient.

  • No clear evaluation process: If you don't have any processes in place to review and evaluate the effectiveness of your decisions, or if the metrics being used are not properly aligned with your objectives, this could be indicative of a lack of strategic planning.

  • Passion fatigue: If those involved in your movement are experiencing high levels of exhaustion or burnout, it could indicate that your movement lacks a sustainable strategy that considers the wellbeing of its team.

  • Disunity among members: If your movement's members are often in disagreement, not moving in the same direction, or not committed to the collective cause, this may signal a lack of effective strategic planning.

  • Unclear identity or brand: If your movement lacks a clear identity or brand, making it hard for others to understand what you stand for, this points to poor strategy.

  • Limited influence: If there has been little change or influence within your specific cause, this could mean a faulty strategy requiring reassessment.

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